Tadej Pogačar has had quite the year. In July he won his second consecutive Tour de France, and in September he announced his engagement to his girlfriend, Urška Žigart. Either side of the big one, he picked up two of cycling’s Monuments. Nothing seems to faze the 22-year-old phenomenon, who grew into something of a ‘patron’ during the three weeks of the Tour. Over 21 stages, there was just one brief moment when he was put under pressure. But other than that, it was perfection.
I was quite relaxed coming into the Tour. I knew I had prepared well and have a good group of people around me and we all work really hard for each other. My target was to win the race again. I think that was a fair target after winning last year, though I knew it would be hard to achieve.
Before the Tour I was in Slovenia, where I had the time trial and road race National Championship, so it was a nice reason to go home and see the family. But also to put the final touches to my Tour prep. I love racing in Slovenia and representing the national team when I get the opportunity. It’s really important for me and something I’m really proud of.
Allan Peiper has had a few health issues lately and so has been at fewer races than usual. He and I have a very good relationship. He was my directeur sportif at my first race for the team back in 2019 and also when I won the Tour last year. He has a lot of experience and his attention to detail and planning is something that really makes a big difference. He is a really good guy who I admire a lot.
The first few days at this year’s Tour were really intense with all the crashes. We had our fair share of bad luck, with all of us touching the ground at some point, Hirschi and McNulty coming worst off in the crashes. We all look to beat our rivals but I can say that no rider wants to see other guys crash or hurt themselves. So when I heard Primož had crashed I was disappointed for him. At the end of the day, it’s just sport and we all have families and loved ones who are more important.